The 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil goes down in history as the most mobile sporting event ever, with recent data from ESPN showing it surpassed the Super Bowl XLVIII.
An analysis by the Adobe Digital Index (ADI) also supports that statement. ADI’s analysis of more than 2.7 billion World Cup rebroadcaster online video starts captured by Adobe analytics found that during peak days, almost one in four online video starts happened on mobile (16%) and tablet devices (7%), up from 18% combined for both smartphones and tablets pre-World cup.
Additionally, the opening match saw a 152% increase in video starts from smartphones from a daily average pre-world cup.
Social media played a large factor in the World Cup being the largest talked-about event in history. Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and YouTube all saw referral video start increases over May 2014 during the World Cup, according to ADI. Tumblr, although small in overall percentage, saw the largest boost in referral video starts percentage, with a 406% increase on opening day and 176% on peak days. Facebook referral video starts increased almost 100% for the opening match, compared with the average day in May, and Twitter referral video starts increased 158%.
“Consumer viewing habits are more mobile during sporting events today than ever before,” said Joe Martin, an analyst at ADI. “We already proved it during the Super Bowl, and now with the World Cup, it is even more evident that mobile and social media play an important role during large events. Marketers looking to engage with consumers around sporting events need to understand these content consumption habits or risk losing to the competition.”
Also part of ADI’s World Cup analysis: the impact of sponsorships on social buzz. On average, World Cup sponsors saw a 125% daily social buzz increase over the May daily average.
For example, World Cup sponsor Adidas averaged 71% more daily championship-related social buzz social buzz than Nike, which wasn’t an event sponsor.
World Cup advertiser data is based on an analysis of 100 million World Cup mentions captured by Adobe Social technology from blogs, Facebook, Google+, Reddit, Twitter, Dailymotion, Flickr, Instagram, Tumblr, VK, Disqus, Foursquare, Metacafe, Wordpress, and YouTube. The term “World Cup” was tracked in more than 36 languages.
In terms of global sentiment, the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat can clearly be tracked, according to ADI, with 41% of buzz relating to “sadness” or “disgust” and 45% relating to “joy” or “admiration.” Brazilian social sentiment is back at pre-World Cup levels, according to ADI, with 55% of buzz related to “surprise,” “sadness,” “anger,” or “disgust” following the national team’s ignominious defeat to Germany.
FC Barcelona player Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior received the most social media attention during the World Cup, with more than 22 million mentions during the month-long championship. Uruguayan footballer Luis Suarez averaged 2 million mentions a day for several days after his biting incident, while U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard received more than 2 million social mentions from his heroics against Belgium on July 1.
In the final match, Mario Goetze’s winning goal scored him 1 million-plus mentions on the July 13. Germany and Argentina also ended the tournament in the top tier of social mentions for the World Cup teams, with 30 million-plus combined mentions from June through July.
“Social media is extremely important during sporting events because it is how fans interact with one another,” Martin said. “Marketers—both sponsors and nonsponsors—can capitalize on the fact that consumers naturally turn to social media during these types of events by meeting them there, with relevant, interesting, and helpful content.”